Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 1: Two Cultures

My name it Ersi Dani and I am an Electrical Engineering major at UCLA. Deciding on my major was the hardest decision of my life. As a first year however, I began taking a few G.E. courses in the social sciences and I found that I spent just as much time in north campus as I did in south campus. 

I found that I was immensely torn between the two mediums as I enjoyed the classes, professors, and the unique individuals at both sides. Sadly, I did notice that there was a significant divide between the two sides that went beyond their geographical separation. Students in both campuses heavily criticized and deeply misunderstood those of the other campus. This divide is evident in “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” when C.P. Snow explains that between the literary and the scientific intellectuals, there is “hostility and dislike, but most of all a lack of understanding,” as well as a “distorted image of each other.”

Separating art and the social sciences from the natural sciences is a grave mistake. As pointed out by Kevin Kelly, modern culture that once consisted of the arts, literature, and music is heavily influenced by science in the rise of the technological era. Both mediums work in tandem together to inspire creation and innovation and "both artist and scientist are involved in the work of intuiting change and in perception and materializing it for others to experience, see and ultimately change"(Vesna). 

Image: Unity of art and Technology 

Wit: A Play by Marget Edson builds a bridge that connects literature with medicine by analyzing terminal illness through the lens of John Donne’s poems. This play is taught in medical schools as a method for teaching students the importance of going beyond the scientific aspect of their occupation to address the ethical importance of interactions between doctors and patients. It is a perfect example of how two seemingly unrelated disciplines can work together to provide meaningful connections to improve the quality of care in hospitals nationwide. When taking into consideration these doctor-patient interactions, there is a huge gap in understanding as well in the language used. In A Dangerous Divide: The Two Cultures in the 21st Century, this inability to understand scientific language is the reason why so many people find it difficult to relate to science and oftentimes find it somewhat irrelevant.

Wit: A Play by Margaret Edson                                         

Image: Doctor-Patient Miscommunication Image Source:


1.  Snow, C. P. “Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” Reading. 1959. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.

2. Kelly, Kevin. "The Third Culture" Science 13 February 1998: Vol. 279 no. 5353 pp. 992-993. Web.

3. Vesna, Victoria. “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between.” Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-25. Web.

4. Edson, Margaret. Wit: A Play. New York: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print.

5. "Academy EBriefings." A Dangerous Divide. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.

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